A big sign in our office says ‘Facilitate participation’. It’s a constant reminder that we’re here to help people get involved and to help researchers recruit into their studies. One thing we emphasise over and over again – with colleagues, patients and the public – is that research isn’t something frighteningly clever going on in laboratories (although it can be) but that it is a normal part of the NHS, something quite routine that patients and others can help with.
The #whywedoresearch campaign has been a great way for us to talk about that message and to put a human face on research.
Sometimes campaigns run out of steam after a few months but we’ve found that people are still interested in taking part – and of course, it’s much easier to get people involved when they’re already aware of what it’s about.
We’ll never be able to say ‘job done’ with raising awareness of research but thanks to this campaign, we’ve made some great strides.